Greek Christmas celebrants truly enjoy a full "Twelve Days of Christmas" beginning on Christmas Eve and ending on January 6. The holiday rituals combine modern traditions with religious ceremonies that date back to ancient times. The Greek "St. Nicholas" is shown here in his boat, symbolizing his essential part as the patron of Greek seamen. Indeed, the tradition says that St. Nicks clothing is always soaked with brine, his beard dripping with seawater, and his brow with perspiration because of his efforts to save sinking ships. Every self-respecting Greek sailor travels with St. Nicks icon on board. Whats more, they all know of a special ritual that is said to tame rough seas. The sailors cast boiled wheat grain, or kollyva, on the water and ask St. Nicholas to "cease his rush." Here we see St. Nick arriving in his little boat, loaded down with toys for Greek youngsters. These children have to be extraordinarily patient, since he does not show up until New Years Eve day, heralded by carolers and New Years bells. Christmas Eve and Christmas are spent with role playing, caroling, feasting and church going. The Christmas feast traditionally includes turkey salad, meat pies, fried pork, spinach pie and fried aubergines with cheese.